We have been told so many times that exercise is good for us. Most of us start exercising to lose weight. I believe it is better not to exercise to lose weight but actually make it a lifestyle change. I have been exercising consistently for quite a few years and recently I increased my effort to 60 min in Jul 2017. I like to exercise first thing in the morning and I am happy to report that till March 2019 I have been able to exercise 60 min. Of course not everyone is a morning person and you can make time during lunch or in the evening. The key is to start and stick to a program that works uniquely for you.
I have expanded each letter of the word exercise to indicate the payoff you get when you do a 60 min workout. Yes even 20 min exercise is fine but to get the full benefit I believe we should do it thrice or four times a week for 60 min. Of course you should check with your doctor for starting any new exercise program that will work for you. Here is the payoff for getting into a consistent exercise program.
Enthusiasm — I have found that whenever I start the day with exercise the whole day goes better. I feel more enthusiastic about life and also about work in general. If you are just starting off you probably won’t feel great. In fact you might feel a little sore or tired. I agree that it is at this point that you should persist to get the full benefits. So persist beyond that point and eventually you will feel great after your exercise. Putting it another way when you don’t exercise you might feel that something is missing that day. The payoff is big time enthusiasm for everything in your life.

EXceptional: You feel exceptional after a strong work out. What I mean by this is you feel like a champion after a workout. You also feel you have already achieved something at the beginning of the day. It is a good tick mark to start the day on a real positive note.
Energy: This goes without saying but the energy you feel after a workout is great. A few of the days I don’t feel up for the day but I force myself to go to the gym. Once I do the 40 min workout I feel energetic again. So the key is to make it a lifestyle change and then energy you get will be the best payoff to stay with an exercise program. The key is consistency because you can get the results only if you are consistent.
Return on Investment: The return on investment on your exercise is great. You will feel more energetic, enthusiastic, happier and healthier. John Maxwell wrote this well in his book Today Matters. He said one hour of being uncomfortable while exercising gives you 16 hours of better productivity. I think that is a huge return on investment. You don’t even need to go to a gym. Even a simple thing as walking is a great comfort soother and makes you feel great.
Reduces Cortisol: Cortisol is the fear hormone and the more of it we have the more stressful we feel. The great news is by exercising we reduce the cortisol levels big time. If you exercise first thing in the morning it reduces anxiety and promotes well-being. Check out this article. Exercise reduces Cortisol
Inspiration: Exercise increases your inspiration levels. A lot of creative ideas can come after a strong workout. It activates different hormones in your brain which promotes happiness and inspiration. Of course you get the endorphin rush which I think can fuel your inspiration. It also puts your mind into a state of flow where you don’t think of anything because when you are strongly working out it is difficult to think of your worries. This allows your mind to think freely.
Shot in the arm: What I mean by this you feel like you just received a shot in the arm after you work out. You have done something good for your body and in turn you feel great about yourself. So it is a great circle of joy that is enabled when you do a workout.
Enhance your memory: The best book I have read on this subject is Spark by John Ratey. He says that children who studied after they exercise were found to retain the learning better than those who didn’t exercise. The key is to learn something immediately after exercise.
There you have it all the ways an exercise program can help you. Of course a lot of it is repetitive but the main idea is the benefits of exercise far outweigh the effort needed to sustain it. I hope you enjoyed reading this article.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.

I am Head of Quality Assurance with expertise in leadership and delivery management. I like reading business books and try to share my learning with everyone.